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Monday, February 28, 2011

Awesome weekend and green inspiration

This weekend was amazing! Not because I did anything special in particular, but because I was an exercise phenom! Nutrition could have definitely been better but working on them baby steps, right?

Got off of work and when I got home, the boyfriend was just about to leave for his job so I quickly got changed into my workout clothes and went with him...  not to work but to walk/jog home.  He works about 4 miles away from our condo so it's a decent route.  By the time I got back home, the sky was looking like this:
A.M.A.Z.I.N.G, right?!

Started the day kinda early (for a Saturday anyway).  We still have several weeks of doggie school left for Beans so Anthony leaves our place around 8 am.

Instead of catching a ride with him and walking around the park while class is going on, I leave our place about 15 - 20 minutes after him with our other dog, Poki.  The park is a good two or three miles away from our condo so again, a decent walk, but Poki and I usually take the scenic route which will take us about an hour and a half to walk/jog.

Got up early again to take the girls on a hike but forgot that Sunday's are hunting days in our mountains.  Packs of hunting dogs and wild boar running around on the hiking trails isn't something we wanted to deal with so instead, we went for another walk.  This time a six miler that took us to the beach.  It was blazing hot but another good workout! Got home in time to wash the dogs, shampoo the carpets, scrub the bathroom and do three loads of laundry!

Hopefully I can get the exercise routine down again and slowly work in more cardio and weight sessions.  I have been lifting weights about two times a week but want to increase that to three or four split routines.  BABY STEPS!!

Remember last month I posted about some green inspiration I was hoping would help me eat from my kitchen instead of out of a take-out container?  Well look how much it's grown in about a month!! 

Before                     after
And 'after' includes cutting and using the herbs several times a week!

The herbs are doing awesome... almost to point that I can't use them in time but that's nothing to complain about.  I've used them in sauces, quiches, soups, breads, eggs, meats, salads... almost everything!  And we have our first chili pepper coming up.  We only have one but I can't wait to use it.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Diet vs. lifestyle change

Trying to change your lifestyle is hard... trying to change it when you have 5 months straight of special occasions is REALLY hard.

November - Thanksgiving
December - Christmas
January - New Years and my birthday
February - Valentine's Day
March - Anniversary

But that's life.  I know this.  You know this.  So why does it become an "excuse" to not try as hard?  As you know I've been in kind of a rut lately with exercise and especially nutrition.  I keep thinking  to myself that I need to get this weight off by my class reunion and  I don't give much thought to what comes after that.  HUGE MISTAKE!  This has put so much pressure on myself!  Two months ago I had 7 months to try and lose 40 pounds.  One month ago I had 6 months to lose 40 pounds.  Now I have 5 months to lose 40.

The closer the date of the reunion comes, the more I feel like I shouldn't even try anymore because I can't possibly do 40 pounds in 6 months... 5 months... 4 months... etc.

My friend Dayne left me a comment on one of my last posts and it's something I need to keep reminding myself of:
Blogger Dayne Gingrich said...
"So much work to do (again)!" is an illusion. That type of thinking is very common, and speaks to a SHORT TERM mindset.

This isn't a diet-thing... or a losing-weight-thing. That's short term thinking. This journey is a LIFE CHANGE, with fluctuations forever. Some days we'll slip, other days we'll be as discipline as ever.

Accepting of these fluctuations is absolutely key. Short term diets or weight loss don't work because there's an unconscious finish line.

Instead, making it a life long walk, knowing we'll be up and down forever will take the pressure off, and allow it to become more consistent.

You DON'T have more work to do (again). There's not "again." There's only now. Today now and the next day now. Enjoy this journey.

And he's so right... I'm not trying to diet in the sense of what everyone thinks a "diet" is, but I'm trying to change my unhealthy habits.    Need to view things as a decision vs. a restriction. 

I'm gonna eat a salad for lunch because I choose to not because I have to.

Makes it a little easier, ya know?!  Gonna end with pictures from this past weekend's Christmas/birthday/Valentine's brunch.  Gorgeous views and awesome food... can't go wrong!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cookbook Adventure: 3/60

Please check out my new food blog with pictures and recipes.

As part of my cookbook adventure here is recipe 3/60:
coconut banana bread

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Updated picture and WC V

You ask and you shall receive.  I've had several people comment/email me about an updated picture of myself since the last picture on my site was from M.O.N.T.H.S. ago! So here it is.

155 lbs.
Christmas 2010

This is what a 20 lbs. gain looks like on me and I guess I'm still far from how I looked when I first started (Sept. 2008) but still... it's really far from what I looked like 20 lbs. lighter (March 2010). =(

So much more work to do (again)!

Weekend Challenge V

Update to this past  Weekend Challenge
Here were my goals for the long weekend, Feb. 18-21, 2011:

390/420 exercise minutes
1395/1500 calorie deficit 
I didn't make either goal but I still got in a ton of exercise.  390 minutes over 4 days comes out to almost 100 minutes a day.  YAY me!  Calorie wise I didn't make it because of some last minute get-togethers with friends but this Challenge kept me moving and kept me conscious of everything I was eating.  It's a start!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

'T' is for Tomato + recipe 2/60

Please check out my new food blog with pictures and recipes.

As part of my cookbook adventure here is recipe 2/60:
upside-down tomato tart

... as in upside-down tomato tart!

  • 1/2 cup and 2 tbs. butter, divided
  • 1 tbs. honey
  • 1 lbs. cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • 2 tsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1.75c flour, sifted
  • 1 tbs.  fresh oregano, chopped
  • 5 - 6 tbs. cold water
  • salt and pepper to taste

1.) Preheat oven400 degrees.  Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a pan and add honey.  Stir till honey is completely melted and turn off heat.

2.) Quickly add garlic, tomatoes, and white wine vinegar, stirring to coat the tomatoes evenly.  Season with salt and pepper.

3.)  Turn out the cooked tomatoes into a pie pan and spread evenly.

4.) For the pastry, place the flour, salt and oregano into a food processor.  Pulse and slowly add 1/2 cup of chilled butter until mixture looks like breadcrumbs.  Don't over process because you don't want to melt the butter.

5.) Add cold water, tablespoon but tablespoon to bind the flour mixture into a soft dough.  Roll out the dough to the same size as your pie pan and place over tomato mixture.

6.) Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until golden brown.  Rest in the pie pan 5 minutes, then run a knife around the edge and turn out onto a plate.  Sprinkle with more chopped oregano and ENJOY.

Hmmm.... kind of torn between this recipe.  On one hand, it has MAJOR potential to be something really good but Anthony and I just didn't like it.  I think because the recipe calls for honey and vinegar.  Tomatoes are both sweet and acidic as is so to add MORE of each really made the tart too sweet and acidic.  We tried this again without the honey and used white wine for cooking and it was SOOOO much better!  On the plus side, the herbed crust was delicious!!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Weekend Challenge V

Thank you for all the support from my last post.... I loved all the reassuring comments and especially the tough-love comments! You have all inspired me to think of this"failed" experience as something different... MOTIVATION!!!

So I'm bringing back the Weekend Challenge!  Who else is in?!

Here are my goals for this weekend, today until Monday:

0/420 exercise minutes
0/1500 calorie deficit


I find myself once again struggling with this journey.  I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why this time around it's so hard to do. I know the system - eating right and exercising - works and I know how to do it AND I've done it before.  I have all the resources and time I need to get it done - yet I just cannot get myself motivated like I was before.

For me the hardest part is controlling the eating.  All day I'm on track but once I get home it all goes to hell!  I keep telling myself the same thing almost every afternoon:

"I'll really start watching my nutrition tomorrow.  Today I'll enjoy this piece of cake now and pizza for dinner since I won't be seeing that kind of food for a while."

Saying and doing this every afternoon keeps the weight on even with exercise because it basically undoes all the "good work" I've done in the beginning of the day.  I've been getting really frustrated and upset with myself so I really want to figure out why I act like this.  You know how you gain all these positive things when you lose weight - self-confidence, happiness, determination, success - well you lose them all when you gain the weight back.  So this is definitely part of the problem. And I think another part of it is because I feel like a failure.

Pun intended!

Because I lost the weight once and was able to maintain it, I feel like a complete failure that I've gained back half of it.  Yeah, it's better than having gained back all + some, but I can't get my mind around the fact that I failed.
Failed at something I was so passionate about.  
Failed at something I thought was a permanent lifestyle change.  
Failed at becoming healthier.
Failed at something I knew I deserved.
It's been almost two months since I knew about my class reunion this summer and I haven't lost a single pound.  How do I get around this "failed" mind-set?!

A post I wrote almost a year and a half ago sums it up nicely.  And now I'm living it:

My greatest fear is becoming who I was at my heaviest weight.

I've been there, done that, so to go back to something I hated will only make it ten times worse. Imagine being in the darkest, scariest place you can think of. Imagine working hard everyday to get yourself out of that hellhole and how happy you are to finally be out. Now imagine you (and only you!) willingly let yourself walk through the door back into that dark place... not because you want to go back, but because you choose to go back. How do you feel?


I've worked my tail off to get healthy again and if I let myself go back to who I was, it'll make me feel even worse!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

First cookbook recipe and updates

Please check out my new food blog with pictures and recipes.

As part of my cookbook adventure here is recipe 1/60:
peanut butter cream cheese cupcakes!


Busy, busy week but here's an update to what's going on:

Goals for The Agreement (Feb. 5 - May 5, 2011):
45 minutes of exercise/6 days a week
net calories of 1200 - 1400/7 days a week

2/05: 70 min walk/jog and 1352 net calories
2/06: 62 min treadmill and 2165 net calories     $10 to Anthony
2/07: 57 min elliptical and 1213 net cals
2/08: 63 min treadmill and 1303 net cals
2/09: day off and 1568 net cals     $10 to Anthony
2/10: 60 min elliptical and 1398 net cals
2/11: 45 min CLX and 1293 net cals
2/12: 63 min walk/jog and 1865 net cals     $10 to Anthony
2/13: 82 min elliptical and 1265 net cals
2/14: 45 min CLX and 1623 net cals     $10 to Anthony
2/15: 78 min walk and 1395 net cals
2/16: OFF DAY and 1356 net cals

The bad news is right now I'm out $40 but the good news is I'm NOT out $120!!  The Agreement is doing what it's supposed to do and it's keeping me motivated to get moving and watch what I eat.  Still struggling with both sides of my goal but at least I'm moving now!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

'S' is for Sweet Potato

... as in sweet potato latkes!

  • 0.5 onion, grated
  • 0.5 lbs. sweet potato, grated
  • 0.5 lbs. Yukon gold potato, grated
  • 2 tbs. flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • vegetable oil
  • 4 tbs. plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 - 3 springs flat-leaf parsley, chopped

1.) Preheat oven to200 degrees.  Place a wire rack on a baking sheet and place in oven (this will act as your "heat box" for the finished latkes).  Grate onion and both potatoes (length-wise to get long strands) with a box grater over a bowl.  

2.)  Lightly toss onions and potatoes together, and put mixture into a clean dish towel.  Wring out excess liquid.  Put potato mixture back in bowl and mix in flour, salt, cayenne and egg.

3.)  Heat oil in skillet over medium heat and working in batches, spoon about a quarter cup of mixture into pan.  Press mixture slightly to form a small pancake.

4.)  Cook, turning once, until golden brown.  Transfer finished latkes to wire rack in oven.  Serve with a tablespoon of plain yogurt and a sprinkle of fresh parsley.
So my latkes didn't come out... I think the potato "strands" were too thick cause they wouldn't hold their pancake shape.  So instead I just made sweet potato hash with them... it was just as good!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Totally worth repeating

Here's a post I had done back in August 2009 but as I reread it yesterday, I knew I had to repost it:

So I know this is only day four of my promise to myself, but guess what... I've learned something already.

In order to get to the future, you have to live in the present.

So common sense and so NOT profound.

Why didn't I know this before? Well it's not that I didn't know it, I just didn't listen to it. I mean the main quote of my blog is "one step at a time..."

When some people start out losing weight (like me), they get into this super-motivated-I-can-do-anything mode especially when the first 5 lbs. are lost because those are always the easiest. They (I) set up goals and picture themselves as what they want to look like at the end of the journey but they forget about the journey itself.

It's like planning a trip. You decide you wanna go to Fitville and you plan all these must-do-activities for when you get there: where to eat, where to stay, what to visit, what to do but without even planning on how to get to Fitville, you'll never get there. Without knowing how you're going to get from your house to the airport, then from the airport to the hotel in Fitville, your goal is already impossible to accomplish.

This is exactly the same thing with weight loss.

It's awesome to know what you want your body to look like and do when you're at the end of the journey (btw, a weight-loss journey never ends... takes you straight to Maintenance Land!) but you also have to know how to get there. Going back to when I started out, I knew what my goal destination was but getting there was going to be the tricky part. I set weekly and monthly goals to help me along the way but that's like only planning the airplane ride then the car ride from the airport to Fitville. What about how to get from my house to the airport?!

The past four days have made me realize that my weekly/monthly goals are way more attainable if I break them down even further... into daily goals.


It's as simple as telling myself I just need to get through today - eat clean TODAY and get in a good workout TODAY. Don't worry about tomorrow today, worry about tomorrow when it gets here. By breaking down my goals to the smallest amounts possible not only makes the goal seem that much more achievable, but it also lets me see the goal... I mean really see it!

Currently my weight goal is about 20 lbs away. Instead of focusing on the entire 20 lbs. I'll focus on just the next two lbs., then the next two, then the next two and so on and so on. But instead of just focusing on the two lbs. I'll focus on what I need to do to get rid of those two lbs. I'll focus on my workouts each day and break it down even further and focus on pushing myself during the workouts.

Just get through the next 5 minutes of running and when I've done that, I'll focus on the next 5 minutes. If I'm able to really give it my all for each 5 minute increment and just repeat it, my workout will go by in no time and I'll probably have pushed myself harder than normal. It's a win-win situation.

Applying the same idea to my nutrition each day - hell, each meal - and I should kick those 20 lbs. in no time! Amazing it's taken me this long to really realize and apply this to my life.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


I know I'm not the only one who deals with this - which makes it a little comforting - but why do I get so caught up with the details when it comes to nutrition and exercise? This is a typical thought process for me on any given day:

"I need to really make my workouts counts!  Only so-many days left till class reunion!"

"I think I'll redo exercise program A again."

"But I heard so many good things about exercise program B and exercise program C.  Maybe I'll do that instead."

"But I like the concepts of exercise program D better and the cardio section of exercise program E.  But exercise program F has the best nutrition program but it really goes more when you actually do exercise program F.  What if I do a combination of all 6 programs?"

"I'll do day one from A, day two from F, day three from B, day four from D, and use the nutrition guides from B for the first three days, nutrition guides from F for the next two days, then try nutrition and exercise from program G."

"I'm too tired from planning my first week of exercise... I'll "rest" today and start tomorrow."

Exhausted from reading that?  
Well I'm exhausted from living that!

So here's the new plan.  Just do SOMETHING!  ANYTHING! I'm not gonna worry about trying to do the entire program of P90x or ChaLean again or worry that I have to get in so many cardio days this week.  Instead, I'm just gonna make sure I do something for the day even if my week is made of 5 days cardio and one day weights... that's perfectly fine! It's better than nothing, right?  So along with everything else I'm trying to do like this, this, or this... that's the plan!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I'm out $10!

Please check out my new food blog with pictures and recipes.

This weekend was T.O.U.G.H!!!  Fun, but tough Agreement-wise!  Saturday Anthony and I started our morning early with doggie school for Beans.   She's very responsive to commands when we train her at home so thought we'd give obedience classes a try... she's doing great so far!

 So many doggies and all are pretty well behaved!  Anthony and Beans were in the front row so can't see them in this picture.

Because Anthony is the alpha in our "pack", he does the trainings so while they were at school, I took our other dog, Poki, on a walk-jog all over the city.
Exercise part of The Agreement... CHECK!
We later ran to Costco to stock up on things we needed (how a house-hold of two spends so much money at Costco, I'll never know!) then headed home for a relaxing afternoon.  Nutrition was in check for the entire day... FINALLY!
Food part of The Agreement... CHECK!
No $10 for Anthony!
But then Sunday rolled around.  I got up early and hit the gym in anticipation of all the food I would be eating.  
Exercise... CHECK!
 I had a party to go to and I helped my friend host a Pampered Chef event.  So much fun and so much food!  My contribution was a gorgeous baked brie with honey and roasted pine nuts.

We also had home-made chocolate chip cookies, another baked brie wheel with onions and almonds, fried turkey and spinach dumplings, Korean food, red velvet cake, cheese and crackers, chips, and way more than I can remember... and apparently there was some football game on too which made the volume of food at our party even greater!!  Well let's just say nutrition was a fail and Anthony got his first $10!!

It was expected but at least yesterday was perfect and today is on-point... heading out to the gym in half an hour so no giving money away.  I think I found a new source of motivation from The Agreement!  Whatever works, right?

Check it out!

Please check out my new food blog with pictures and recipes.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Agreement

It's been almost a week since I got my "motivational" countdown calendar and I haven't done anything with it! I mean, no exercise except for yesterday - washing, drying, polishing, vacuuming, and scrubbing the inside of a car is a definite workout - and nutrition has been outrageous! Sure, I had a birthday in the last week but that shouldn't be an excuse.  When I was consistently losing weight two years ago, special events wouldn't even have stopped me... Thanksgiving 2009 consisted of a morning cardio session, a 2 hour hike in the afternoon, and NO pumpkin pie!!  Should be easy right?  FAR  FROM  IT!

Well now it's time...

... time to put up or SHUT up!

I needed to think of something that would truly motivate me to stay on track... yes, I love my countdown calendar and will still use it but let's be honest.  How motivating can a bunch of paper really be?  Actually I take that back, this bunch of paper is truly motivating for me:

This is motivating to me not because I'm shallow or materialistic, 
but because I don't have much of it!

The Agreement

Who:  Between my boyfriend and myself
When: February 3, 2011 - May 3, 2011

What:  I'm going back to basics for real... counting calories and exercise minutes.  Over the next 90 days, my boyfriend has the potential to gain $900!! He'll get $10 a day from me EVERYDAY I go over my calorie limit or don't hit my exercise minute goals.  $10 isn't a super expensive amount but it's expensive enough for me to think twice about eating off plan or not exercising.

Why: My boyfriend loves his car.  More than that, he loves swapping parts out and making it nicer/sexier/faster.  I hate that!  So if I end up funding one of his projects, I'll be mad and the only way to avoid giving him money is to stay on track with my nutrition and exercise.  And even though this gives him the opportunity to sabotage me EVERYDAY, I know he won't.  In the end, if he tempts me with junk food and I give in, it's still my decision and I can only blame myself.

'R' is for Rice

... as in Vietnamese rice pudding (che dau trang)!

(makes 8 servings)
  • 0.5c dried black eyed peas (I used adzuki beans because that's what I had)
  • 0.75c short-grain white rice - mochi rice prefered
  • 0.5c sugar
  • 3c water, divided
  • 1 15oz. can coconut milk, divided
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
1.)  Sort, rinse and soak beans overnight.  Drain and rinse water.  In a large pot, bring beans to boil in two cups of water, cover, and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.

2.)  Add rice, half the sugar, and about 3/4 of the can of coconut milk.  Simmer for 15 minutes covered, but watching for boil over.  Stir mixture halfway through cooking time.

3.)  Add rest of sugar (more or less to taste) and more water to your preferred consistency.  Continue simmering, stirring every few minutes, with cover ajar until rice is cooked about 15 - 25 minutes.

4.)  When rice is done, turn off heat, add vanilla and allow to site, covered, for 15 minutes.  Serve hot or cold with a tablespoon of remaining coconut milk over rice pudding.

So YUMMY!  Not the healthiest thing for you but it's one of my guilty indulgences.  I'm working on getting it 'healthified' so when that happens I'll be sure to post about it.